Thursday, May 20, 2010

Accelerator Software Provides a Faster Download

Over half of all households that connect to the Internet have a broadband connection these days, mostly cable or DSL. Which means the other half does not and still uses dial-up. Modems are much faster than they used to be in the early days of computing, but today's websites are larger and require a lot of bandwidth to load quickly. To make matters worse for those on slower connections, even simple software updates are now often dozens of megabytes and can take a long time to download. What it all means is that modem users need a break!

Fortunately, there are things that can be done to make a connection faster. You see, the operating system software on today's computers is not optimized for fast downloads. Microsoft's primary goal is simply to make sure Windows works with all the different hardware out there. Compatibility is important, of course, but it can be frustrating when things just don't work as well as they should.

But not everything is your computer's fault. Your Internet service provider, too, is primarily concerned with reliability (good), compatibility (good), and moving as much traffic as possible with as little investment as possible (not so good). Further, while the Internet moves at electronic speed, not all connections are equal. You may have noticed that downloading pictures from the same exact website is sometimes faster and other times much slower. That may be because the server is very busy, but it can also be because your connection is taking some detours instead of directly getting on the highway.

What does it all mean? It means that between hardware and software designed for compatibility rather than performance, and Internet connections that may not necessarily favor individual dial-up customers, you may simply not get the speed your computer is capable of and that you are paying for. This is bad news for those who frequently download movies, music or pictures.

Fortunately, there are solutions, and I don't mean getting a new computer or waiting until you have broadband access. One such solution is download accelerators. They can greatly increase the speed and reliability of your downloads. How do they do it? By optimizing the way your computer works and by making sure your data downloads the fastest and most direct route possible. With a download accelerator, you are no longer at the mercy of some remote traffic routing computer. Instead, the accelerator in your own system determines the best way to download data as quickly and efficiently as possible.

But speed is not the only benefit of a good download accelerator. How often has it happened to you that a connection times out or is interrupted before a file has downloaded completely? Probably quite often. And then you have to start all over. A download accelerator will keep track of things and will simply pick up where you left off if a connection gets dropped. Imagine how much time you save.

The bottom line is clear. You have better things to do than wait for downloads to complete. If you want to regain control of your Internet connection, accelerate downloads and restore, or just web browsing in general, a good accelerator is invaluable.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Home Internet Options: The War Between DSL And Cable

If you are still using dial-up, you have probably gotten either the “You don’t use DSL yet?” or the “You don’t use cable yet?” expressions of credulity. So you’ve decided that it’s probably time to get off of dial-up – yet, the question remains: which is better, DSL or cable? There are advertisements arguing the perks of both, but which will really get you more bang for your buck?

The three issues to take into account when comparing DSL and cable Internet connection are speed, customer satisfaction and security.

Theoretically, cable modems run faster than DSL because they offer more bandwith. There is also a form of DSL called VDSL which can match the speed of a cable modem. However, the speed of cable is relative to the number of people in your area who are accessing the neighborhood at the same time. One popular commercial compares cable modems to drinking out of a straw – the straw is fine, if one person is drinking from it. But if the straw must be shared – well, obviously things slow down a little. Both DSL and cable also vary in speed by the minute depending on the congestion caused by multiple users.

Customer service surveys conducted by J.D. Power and Associates in 2004 showed that DSL had an edge over cable in customer satisfaction ratings. This survey looked at billing, the provider’s business image, cost and tech support, and email services. Earthlink and Verizon, both DSL, were the top two service providers rated in the survey.

Since cable modems necessitate the sharing of a cable line to provide service to the entire neighborhood, DSL is slightly more secure. However, cable modems are easier to install, and many sources believe that the difference in security is not significant enough to go through the trouble of installing DSL. Many cable customers avoid security problems by putting up firewalls in order to protect themselves, and their information.